AFC Stoneham won their first Southampton Senior Cup at St Mary’s last night.
The Hampshire Premier Leaguers beat Bush Hill FC 2-1 with goals in each half from Liam Hall and Stewart Beck.
Beck’s stunning 50th minute winner would have graced a Saints match.
After Hall had side-footed in the 29th-minute opener at the far post, he cut in from the left before firing low and hard into the far corner from at least 20 yards.
Dean Higgins, Stoneham’s number ten, was denied by Bush Hill goalkeeper Mark Fry as half-time approached, having been put in by midfielder Chris Benham, the former Hampshire cricketer.
But Bush Hill were twice denied an equaliser by the St Mary’s woodwork in firsthalf injury time. Louis Moody’s low shot was turned behind via the outside of a post and then James Lavender headed an
outstanding crossfield pass against the bar.
Stoneham’s superior finishing was the difference against a Bush Hill side trying to become the first Southampton League team to win the trophy for 26 years.
The Millbrook outfit kept battling in the hope of celebrating their tenth anniversary with St Mary’s silverware.
The underdogs made most of the running in the last half hour. The queue of players trying to pull a goal back was nearly as long as that for the car park at the final whistle.
Midfielder Terry Parker was twice denied by Stoneham keeper Danny Chapman, who clawed away an attempted lob before tipping a 25-yarder around a post.
Richard Patterson and Lavender also threatened before Nick Kesby reacted quickest in a crowded penalty area to hook in the 82ndminute goal that set up an exciting finish.
But Stoneham were always a threat on the counter attack and Dave Reading was denied his side’s third by the far post in injury time.